HOW TO WRITE GREAT COPY
Copy is something all self-publishers need to develop. In fact, I would even say that all writers need to have great copy. Unfortunately, developing this skill is tough, since the books about copy relate more specifically to marketing for business rather than for fiction.
And if you write fantasy and sci-fi…good luck honing that copy talent.
The task of presenting your work in a few short lines seems impossible. I mean, how are you supposed to reduce 100,000 words to 100 words? That’s a 1,000% reduction!
That’s like taking one door from the Taj Mahal and trying to explain how beautiful the rest of the building is! Seems impossible, right? Well, that’s because it is. There’s no way that 100 words can accurately depict your book.
So then, what’s the solution?
Copy should mimic the tone of your work.
If you are writing a ROMANCE, then your copy should be dreamy and sincere, as if you are peeking into the souls of two lovers.
WATCH THIS ONE-LINE COPY:
Brown haired, blue-eyed Janice has suffered heartbreak after heartbreak, so what could a nerdy cubicle journalist like Stephen, who has never been in a romantic relationship, ever know about a thing called love?
This line is quick and sassy, and it gives you a glimpse into what Janice thinks about guys, especially this geek of a journalist. This is what we want to do if we are trying to capture someone’s attention. It’s one line, and we know that Janice is not as harsh as this one line suggests, but we have to show a quick flaw in her thinking to get the reader to jolt.
I have read some very disappointing copy, and reading these bad blurbs is like being stuck in a traffic jam: you keep trying to move forward, but you aren’t going anywhere.
We want our copy to be smooth, to roll off the reader’s tongue like a creamy cup of hot cocoa on a chilly winter morning. See where that line just took you. In one moment, I have imaginatively given you a cup of hot chocolate.
This line would have been stilted had it read: We want our copy to good enough to drink.
Many times copy ends up incomplete, not giving the reader the strong mental images to hold onto.
If you are writing a MYSTERY, then your copy should be suspicious and misleading, tangled in suspense.
Six years after college, Miranda Giles reluctantly travels back to the woman who made her life a living Hell…her mother.
Now this line does several things. It gives you the person’s name, her age, and her disposition about her mother. But also, it leaves you wanting. Why does Miranda want to go back to someone who made her life miserable, and why now?
If you are writing a FANTASY, then your copy should be mystical and adventurous.
In a world torn apart by war, magic, and thieves, one man Iglan Fytal must emerge from the pit of his own darkness to save the kingdom that he has loyally served for two decades.
This example lets the reader know what the book is going to have in it, and it introduces the main character who will put an end to the noted tyrannies.